‘Buy a real Christmas tree’ – the industry is worth €21m to the economy

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle, is urging people to buy a real Irish Christmas tree this year.

Minister Doyle visited Stephen Cowman at Parkmore Christmas Tree farm in Moneystown, Co. Wicklow this week.

“At home we always make sure we have a real tree. It wouldn’t be the same Christmas experience without a real tree and all that goes with bringing it into the house, setting it up, the smell and the atmosphere.

“I see the Christmas tree farms around the country especially here in Wicklow and the seven to 10 years work that goes into producing a good quality tree – the work is all year round, planting, shaping, spraying, fertilising, marketing, harvesting.”

Around 550,000 Christmas trees are sold in Ireland each year with 350,000 sold at home and about 200,000 trees exported to the UK, France and Germany.

The industry is worth €21m to the Irish economy, according to the Department.

“I would also like to add my support to the Irish Christmas Tree Growers #lovearealtree campaign. To me it’s only common sense.

“Real trees provide a better Christmas experience in the home, they are better for the environment, carbon neutral and everyone who buys an Irish tree is contributing to providing jobs in rural Ireland for Christmas tree growers like Stephen Cowman, his family and staff.”

The Minister also noted the risks Christmas tree growers face.

This business doesn’t come without its risks and none more so than the risk of Christmas tree theft.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of An Garda Síochána in carrying out Operation Hurdle, an initiative specifically aimed at combating the theft of Christmas trees in the approach to Christmas.”

Operation Hurdle has been running since 2011 and has dramatically driven down tree thefts in Co. Wicklow.